While you were sleeping, Navy tested and readied its missile shield

The Indian Navy on Thursday claimed that it now has a much-needed missile defence shield for its frontline warships, following successful testing of an Indo-Israeli system.

By SUJAN DUTTA
  • Published 30.12.15
  •  

New Delhi, Dec 30: The Indian Navy on Thursday claimed that it now has a much-needed missile defence shield for its frontline warships, following successful testing of an Indo-Israeli system.

A series of tests from the INS Kolkata in the Arabian Sea from the late evening of Tuesday to the early hours of Wednesday of an Indo-Israeli Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM), called the Barak NG, was successful, navy spokesperson Captain D.K. Sharma said.

The Barak NGs were fired at "expendable aerial targets" -- remotely piloted unmanned rockets -- in a repeat of the tests that were carried out from an Israeli warship in the Mediterranean Sea last month in the presence of Indian military scientists.

Scientists from India's Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI) were on board the INS Kolkata, the first of the latest series of stealth destroyers made in India.

The INS Kolkata is also the first to be armed with the capability to launch land-attack Brahmos missiles.

The LRSAM was tested at extended ranges, defence ministry spokesperson Nitin Wakankar said.

The Navy's Captain Sharma said the missile was tested with two firings at different ranges. The tests included a check on the tracking and guidance through the MF-STAR -- a multifunction active electronically scanned array naval radar.

The LR-SAM test and its declaration as a successful example of India-Israel defence cooperation comes as New Delhi and Tel Aviv are working out a calendar of events that will be highlighted by the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

(Top)Shots of the LRSAM being test-fired from the INS Kolkata and (bottom) the INS Kolkata, the first warship in a class of the same name

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to visit Israel in mid-Jamuary before a visit by the Prime Minister himself later in the year.

President Pranab Mukherjee visited Israel and Palestine last month.

The success of the LR-SAM programme has the potential to pitchfork India-Israel defence cooperation almost on a par with India-Russia ties as exemplified by the BrahMos cruise missile joint venture between New Delhi and Moscow.

The Kolkata class of warships will be armed with at least 32 LR-SAMs each. Each of the 47 warships on order by the Indian Navy in Indian shipyards will also be armed with the LR-SAM, also called the Barak 8 or the Barak NG (next generation).

The system may also provide missile shields for India’s offshore oil rigs.